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All posts for the month September, 2016

Nami is the Straw Hat Pirates’ Navigator and one of the first to join Luffy’s crew. Initially forced to serve the fishman Arlong as his cartographer, Luffy frees Nami from their service, after which Nami decides to permanently join the Straw Hats. Nami is obsessed with obtaining large amounts of money and her dream is to draw a complete map of the Grand Line.    

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Name: Nami (Sailing Again Ver.)
Line: Portrait Of Pirates (Excellent Model)
Manufacturer: MegaHouse
Released: 2011
Price: Then: 5,700 YEN, Now: about the same if bought in Japan
Scale: 1/8
Accessories: Base

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Originally my wife and I (who is the bigger One Piece fan out of the two of us) were going to watch the Anime together, that was until we reached the end of what Madman had put out here in Australia and are waiting for more DVDs to be released.

In the meantime, my wife bought herself the complete comic series up to the most recent book. (All in Japanese obviously) so I don’t know if we will continue watching the DVD or if she will just read the books herself.

Either way, I’m quite happy to buy the characters I like the most in statue form which the two of us can both appreciate together.

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SCULPTING

One thing I always tend to find about Japanese toy companies is they will always understand the characters which originate from Japan stylistically better than western or other Asian countries.

They just seem to have a better grasp of how to go about making the character look like it walked off the screen and into your hands and P.O.P Nami is no different. There was a little bit of hit and miss with the first figures in the series but MegaHouse has really upped their game with every new release.

This particular version of Nami is after the series time-jump, where Nami has grown up a bit and filled out (to paraphrase Sin City) and in a lot of ways has now become fan service and a lot more sexualized then she appeared before the time-jump.

There are things I like about the design (longer hair, more mature, proportioned body) and things I don’t (bust size is a bit over the top and she could wear better fitting clothes).

With that, all said it’s still an excellent representation of how Nami now looks in the Manga and Anime. MegaHouse have done a great job of translating those drawings into 3D and not losing the things that make Nami look unique. (Even if a lot of Anime/Manga female characters look pretty similar, to begin with.)

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PAINT

As expected nice and neat, the highlights for me are the hair, which has a translucently near the tips and the jeans which have some subtle blending of colours. Besides that, everything is up to standard and you have little to nothing to worry about.

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ARTICULATION

Nami is a statue and there fore has no articulation at all.

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ACCESSORIES

Nami comes with a base to help her stand up and that’s about it, it’s cast in a bright orange plastic and feels like it’s quality plastic in hand.

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POTENTIAL PROBLEMS

You aren’t going to have any issues with Nami, unless you bought a fake (hopefully not) or bought a really bad second hand one. (Once again, hopefully not)

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PRICE

I bought my Nami, just like Nico Robin from my mate who was down grading his collection so I got her for a really good price (about $40 AUD, if I remember correctly) and if you can make it to Japan you will be able to find her in various conditions for decent prices. Obviously the place to go is Japan, Mandarake among others always has a seemingly endless supply of One Piece P.O.P and the prices are always great, plus you know it’s not a knock off too.

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OVERALL

As far as character representations go I’m quite happy with this particular version of Nami and that’s what it comes down to if you are going to collect MegaHouse P.O.P ‘Excellent Model’ series, just buy whichever ones you like the best, they all tend to work together in a display cabinet, even if they are from different parts of the overall One Piece story.

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Kenner’s line of ‘Aliens’ Space Marine toys was fairly short lived. After only 1 & 1/2 series of figures, the Marines were dumped in favor of Predators instead to do battle with the Aliens. What marines we did get however were quite cool and in most cases had action features to add more play value. Drake, a character that appeared in the Aliens film franchise, also received a figure in this toyline.

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Name: Drake
Line: Aliens
Manufacturer: Kenner
Released: 1992
Price: Then: $10-$16.  Now: $10 – $26 MOSC or less if loose
Scale: 4 -5 Inches in height
Accessories: Smart Gun, Bayonet

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I really can’t remember why my brother and I decided to collect the Kenner Aliens toys when we were kids – being a toyline based off an MA 15+ series of movies – but they did look cool. The Alien designs were nice and there were a variety of figures.

But you can’t just have Aliens… You need Marines as well! Regardless of what collectors at the time and collectors now think of this toyline, I still like what Kenner did with about 90% of the figures they made.

When my brother and I first saw these figures, normally each one of us would choose which ones we liked best, my brother owned Drake so from a nostalgia point of view, I don’t really have that same connection as say Ripley or Hudson figures which I personally owned.

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SCULPTING

For the most part, I’d like to think Kenner did a good job of taking the source material and putting their own spin on it. Apparently, there was going to be a cartoon to tie in with the toys so that would make sense changing the characters a bit. Drake has all the key elements: blonde hair, tank top and camo pants. All things the character had in the movie, even if it looks nothing like actor Mark Rolston. Still, overall I think it’s a great looking figure.

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PAINT

The paint on most of Kenner’s toys and figures tend to be quite neat. Drake is a pretty good example of this, but there is a little slop around his hairline. Otherwise, it’s all very neat and expertly applied, as always, if you are able to get a good look at what you are buying you can pick one with a good paint job.

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ARTICULATION

Drake technically has about six points of articulation, swivel head, arms, legs and waist, however besides the arms and legs the rest will all move when using Drake’s action feature, where you rotate his waist, it moves his upper torso with the head staying in place, so it looks like he’s maneuvering his Smart Gun around at different targets. (You can still move his head independently if desired.)

This is a pretty cool action feature and really captures the action from the movie quite faithfully, however, it does limit Drake as he’s essentially stuck in the one, unchanging pose.

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ACCESSORIES

Drake only comes with a bayonet which can be attached  to the end of his Smart Gun, it makes sense that you would want to keep aliens as far away from your person as possible and this would help to do that, but just the Smart Gun by itself would be enough, I’d like to think. I guess it’s just thrown in there for extra play value.

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POTENTIAL PROBLEMS

None that I can think of;  Drake is rock solid. What would you expect from an early 1990’s toy?  Just make sure your one has a good paint job before you buy it.

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PRICE

I was happy with the $10 + shipping costs; however, I wouldn’t pay too much for this figure, as he is not worth any large amount of money.

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OVERALL

Drake is a pretty solid figure, even if he is sculpted in the one pose. His action feature is fun and really adds a great amount of play value to the figure. He may not be the most important character in the Aliens franchise, but memorable none the less. If you are looking to complete your Kenner Aliens collection Drake definitely needs to in there.

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Diamond Dallas Page has done it all in professional wrestling from manager to colour commentator to wrestler, at age 31 DDP decided to start his wrestling training and in less than 5 years he won his first WCW World Heavyweight Title and many more title reigns followed after that first one. Since retiring DDP has developed his own type of fitness system: DDP Yoga, which has improved the lives of not only many former wrestlers and athletes, but everyday normal people too, myself included.

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Name: Diamond Dallas Page (DDP)
Line: Legends Collection
Manufacturer: Mattel
Released:
2012
Price: $16.99
Scale: Roughly 18 CM in height
Accessories: Vest

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One of the reasons I decided to review this figure is because DDP and his DDP Yoga has had a pretty big effect on my life, using DDP’s Yoga programs has really helped me get through a rough part of my life, health wise and really helped me turn a corner. I can’t say enough good things about DDP Yoga so if you are interested it is best you check it out yourself. It will help if you keep working at it and do it every day.

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SCULPTING

When Mattel first displayed pictures of their smiling DDP head sculpt a lot of fans weren’t happy with it, a lot of people thought it looked goofy and didn’t suit the character enough. I didn’t really mind it either way, having met DDP in person, it really does look like him when he’s smiling, so they’ve nailed it in my opinion at least. Do we need a second serious/focused DDP head sculpt at some point? Yes, we do, just like we need a second better Scott Hall head sculpt.

Coupled with the variety of blonde and orange paint, the head sculpt really looks amazing! The parts Mattel have chosen to make up DDP’s body are a good choice and pretty good match to the type of build DDP had/still has. The height is also just about right as he’s not too tall and not too short either.

If I was going to point out a negative, it would be some of the hair strands look a little bit too thick around the face.

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PAINT

Mattel seem to always do a pretty good job when it comes to their products paint applications. DDP is up to the usual high standards I have become accustomed to from Mattel. There are a lot of different tones on DDP’s facial hair, they all contrast each other a bit, but still manage to work well together, even if they can look a little odd as well. I don’t think this bothers me too much, but it is a lot of different colours just for the figures face.

The Tattoos and DDP logos look amazing and are neatly applied, Mattel rarely drop the ball with the paint applications, even if at times they make odd colour choices.

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ARTICULATION

DDP has the following articulation: ball jointed head, swivel and hinge shoulders, bicep swivel, ab crunch, swivel waist, hinge elbows, swivel and hinge wrists, swivel/hinge post hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, boot swivel, hinged ankles and rocker feet.

All of Mattel’s Elite Collection style figures have the above articulation, it’s quite a lot and you can pose the figures in plenty of poses or performing different wrestling moves. It’s not perfect at times but is still more then enough to keep hardcore wrestling fans happy.

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ACCESSORIES

DDP just comes with his black vest with DDP logo on the back and blue lining on the inside. The big DDP logo on the back looks fantastic! It would have been nice if he came with a title belt or some tape for his mid section, but the vest is still a nice addition, by itself.

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POTENTIAL PROBLEMS

You aren’t going to have too many problems with this figure, if any. Mattel continue to make some of THE best wrestling figures/toys out there.

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PRICE

I paid the retail price at the time from the one and only place for wrestling figures I trust, Ringside Collectibles, they have never let me down and in my opinion, their prices are quite decent when compared to here in Australia. Also, I have noticed my local Target finally has Elite Collection figures in store again! Currently the Nasty Boys series! It’s good to see Target carry these figures again, hopefully, the WCW ring will be for sale there too at some stage.

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OVERALL

This is a great DDP figure! If you are a fan of DDP or WCW from the Monday Night Wars era of professional wrestling, then you need to have DDP in your collection and this is definitely one of the best DDP figures made to date.

Mattel continue to produce more and more WCW related wrestlers from the ‘Monday Night Wars’ era (1996-1999). As a big fan of wrestling and WCW from that time period, I’m more then happy to buy the figures they make and the list of wrestlers only continues to grow!

Now if only Mattel would make a DDP vs. Macho Man two pack, that would be great!

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